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6.2ASCR Co-Design Centers

In 2011, ASCR made awards to three application co-design centers. Each center focuses on a specific application that is an important driver for exascale3 and is a distributed collaboration between multiple national laboratories and university partners. Development of that application facilitates exploration of issues of mathematics, algorithms, computer science, systems software, and of course, hardware in the co-design process. For a detailed description of the ASCR co-design centers see http://science.energy.gov/ascr/research/scidac/co-design/.

6.3ASC Co-Design Project

The NNSA labs and ASC program have defined a coordinated co-design strategy that leverages the work of the ASCR co-design centers while focusing on the unique needs of the ASC program. ASC is a mission-driven program with applications currently in use that are of importance to run at exascale in support of stockpile stewardship, namely the Engineering and Physics Integrated Codes (EPICs). To meet the key needs of the EPICs, ASC has established the National Security Applications (NSApp) Co-Design project. NSApp focuses on these established applications as the drivers and participates in co-design largely through proxy applications. Additional information is available at https://asc.llnl.gov/codesign/.

6.4Proxy Apps

The DOE co-design centers make extensive use of proxy applications to represent the application workflow and requirements to the exascale ecosystem. These applications codes are used to understand the effects of hardware tradeoffs, and to explore and develop new technologies, runtime systems, languages, programming models, algorithms, tools, file systems, and visualization techniques. Whenever possible, proxy apps are openly available—with occasional need to protect the original source under export-control rules or proprietary access rules in some cases where vendor modifications are supplied back to the co-design center.

In general, a small application code that represents some aspect of the computational workflow of a full application is a proxy app. Proxy apps can be grouped into three categories in increasing sophistication and fidelity to the parent applications and integrated codes:

  • Kernels: these are small code fragments (algorithms) that are used extensively by the parent application and are deemed essential to perform optimally,

  • Skeleton apps: these apps reproduce the data flow of a simplified application and make little or no attempt to investigate numerical performance. They are primarily useful in investigating memory management, network performance characteristics, I/O, …,

  • Mini- or compact apps: these apps contain the dominant numerical kernels contained in the parent application and represent the computational workflow in as compact a form as possible.

It is important to emphasize that these proxy apps will not be static but will evolve significantly during the co-design process. The co-design centers anticipate the requirement for domain application code-developers to spend significant time with the vendors as well as vendor developers and architects to spend significant time with the co-design centers.

ASC and ASCR co-design centers are developing and publishing their proxy apps. Some that are available today are:

















These proxy apps and new ones will be reconfigured to express the workflow of the extreme-scale applications on extreme-scale nodes, including the memory sub-system. Both layout and movement for both data and task are of interest. With emerging constraints on memory per compute unit and on the energy of moving data, current algorithms and strategies for data layout and data movement may prove ineffective. The lessons learned from testing the current algorithms and strategies on proposed extreme-scale node architectures will be used by the Co-design Centers to re-express the proxy apps to assess extreme-scale node performance.


7.1Description of Requirement Categories

Requirements are either mandatory (designated MR) or target (designated TR-1 or TR-2), and are defined as follows:

  • MRs are performance features essential to DOE requirements. An Offeror must satisfactorily address all MRs to have its proposal considered responsive.

  • TRs, identified throughout this Statement of Work, are features, components, performance characteristics, or other properties that are important to DOE but will not result in a nonresponsive determination if omitted from a proposal. TRs add value to a proposal and are prioritized by dash number, as described below.

TR-1s and MRs are of equal value. The aggregate of MRs and TR-1s form a baseline solution. TR-2s are goals that combine with MRs and TR-1s to produce a more useful solution. Therefore, the ideal proposal would meet or exceed all MRs, TR-1s, and TR-2s.

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